Chris Parnham made the trip across the Nullarbor worthwhile, celebrating a winning double on his first day riding in Victoria at Bendigo on Sunday.
Parnham was successful aboard the mount that lured him east, the Wez Hunter trained Parcel, and later scored a pick-up victory aboard Gauteng Gal for former Western Australian trainer John Price.
The 17-year-old, who is the son of prominent Perth trainer Neville Parnham and brother of jockeys Brad and Steven, was thrilled to make his first trip to Victoria count.
“It’s good to get a double,” he said. “They’re a couple of nice horses and I’m very fortunate to ride them.”
The Bendigo winners took to 157 the number of winners Parnham has ridden in a career that is in only its third season. Having ridden Parcel in preparation for her debut was what prompted Hunter to offer the ride to Parnham, who was happy to oblige. “I was pretty fortunate that I was able to trial this horse while I was over here on suspension and Wez asked me to come back to ride it today (Sunday), so I’m very thankful,” he said.
Parnham produced a fine front-running ride to get Parcel, a daughter of Beneteau, home as a $5.50 second favourite in the $17,500 Marong Cup 7th February 2015 Maiden Plate.
She showed impressive early speed to lead and kicked clear early in the straight before holding off a challenge from the fast-finishing Jemeka ($12) to score by three-quarters of a length. The Robert Smerdon trained $1.80 favourite Duhallow was 2-1/4 lengths back third.
Parcel’s winning time of 51.07 seconds clipped 0.15secs off the previous track record, held by Innovation Girl. Parnham completed his double when he engineered a blowout result aboard Gauteng Gal in the $17,500 Exterm A Bug 3YO Fillies Maiden Plate (1100m).
The daughter of Turffontein, who finished third in a Stony Creek maiden on debut, unleashed a stylish finish to run down $2.60 favourite Lady Einstein and score as a $31 chance.
The victories gave Parnham three winners from his past three rides after winning the final race at Ascot in Perth on Saturday with former Victorian gelding Longma.
While Parnham – who had a 6.30pm flight back to Perth to catch after the Bendigo meeting – said he was open to the idea of a stint being based in Victoria, he has some goals he would like to achieve at home before seriously considering a move. “I’ve only got three winners left in my (metro) claim, so I might come over once I’ve lost that and see how I go,” he said.